Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 9, 2023

Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence Turns Data Into Knowledge 

Enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) software helps manufacturing leaders drive business.

Manufacturing plants small and large are implementing enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) software to increase efficiency and boost production. An article in Automation World examines the benefits of this software tool.

A good EMI solution turns data into real-time information about manufacturing processes, providing manufacturing leaders with the knowledge they need to run their plants more effectively. According to Dave McCarthy, president of systems integrator TriCore in Racine, Wisc., "A company cannot improve performance unless it can measure it. EMI lets users gather information from disparate sources and fulfill any number of obligations to decision-makers within the enterprise, as well as customers who look to the company to deliver its brand promise."

Pepsi Bottling Ventures, the nation's largest privately-held Pepsi-Cola bottler, is having success with an EMI software package called FactoryWidgets. Developed by Apex Software Development and sold and supported by Software Toolbox in Charlotte, NC, the widgets are small applications that display user-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) on desktop systems. The automated reporting mechanism provides real-time data for both primary and ancillary management needs.

Chris Bacon, production manager at the Nampa, Idaho, plant, reported: "This new capability frees up at least an hour a day per person, which is equivalent to adding another person to the staff, free of charge — and that's a wonderful initial return on investment."

On the plant floor, Pepsi Bottling Ventures uses Invensys Operations Management's Wonderware human-machine interface (HMI) workstations, which enables operators to interact with the production processes. Since the software can be accessed from the plant floor and the lab, QC lab personnel no longer have to run down to the plant to check statuses, thus making better use of their valuable time.

Other end user stories outlined in the article include JoutCon Oy in Southeastern Finland, and Colorcon in West Point, Penn. JoutCon Oy, which provides board and paper sheeting services, deployed Honeywell's OptiVision manufacturing execution system (MES) at two of its production facilities. And when Colorcon, a pharmaceutical coatings supplier, needed a better way to provide waste treatment reports to the township, the company assembled a team consisting of Milwaukee-based supplier Rockwell Automation; Rumsey Electric, a Rockwell distributor in Consohocken, Pa.; and process industries system integrator EZSoft, based in Malvern, Pa.

For those considering an EMI solution, TriCore's McCarthy offers the following advice: "Companies looking to capitalize on EMI cannot overlook the basics. At the outset, decision-makers need to determine who needs to access information, what information is needed, and how the information will be used. A host of other requirements also must be vetted, which can range from where data is stored; to how the information is presented; to how quickly it's rendered. Whether it's nuts and bolts information associated with maintenance, production issues, or an enterprise view across multiple facilities, EMI brings data together from multiple sources so that users can fine-tune their facility, or multiple facilities, for the better."